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Updated: 5 min 57 sec ago
Andy Murray has brought the Davis Cup back to Great Britain. The World No. 2 downed Belgium’s David Goffin 6-3, 7-5, 6-3 in the fourth rubber of the Davis Cup Final in Ghent on Sunday to give the visitors an unassailable 3-1 lead and a 10th Davis Cup title in 104 years of participation.
Murray ends his 2015 Davis Cup campaign with an 8-0 singles record, matching a calendar-year best set by John McEnroe and Mats Wilander. The Dumblane native was involved in 11 of the 12 World Group wins posted by Team Great Britain in 2015. James Ward was the only other Brit to win a singles rubber this year.
The Brit made a quick start, going up 5-2 before closing out the first set in 50 minutes. Goffin managed to lengthen rallies and push Murray to 5-5 in the following set, but found himself down two sets after being broken late in the 1:15 second stanza.
In the first rubber on Friday, Goffin overcame a two-set deficit for the first time in Davis Cup action against rookie Kyle Edmund. The Belgian, No. 16 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, could not repeat that exploit. He mounted a final charge by breaking the Murray serve in the second game of the third set, but saw his opponent counter strongly to seal the outcome in just under three hours.
“Of course I am very disappointed,” Goffin told DavisCup.com after the match. “But Great Britain and Andy deserved this title. They were very solid. I’m proud of my season and of our Davis Cup year. I gave everything for our country, our staff and my friends. This final was unforgettable. The crowd gave me a lot of energy.
“This weekend gave me a lot of confidence for next year,” Goffin added. “I’ve proved that I can maintain a really high level, but I am looking to improve my serve and to be more aggressive in 2016.”
With the win, Great Britain moved ahead of France for sole possession of third place, trailing the USA and Australia, for the number of Davis Cups won. It was the visiting team's first title run since 1936, when Fred Perry led the way against Australia on the grass of Wimbledon. Belgium and Great Britain last met at this stage in 1904, when the Brits swept the tie 5-0.
Inigo Cervantes will look to clinch the third 50-win season in Challenger history when he faces countryman Daniel Munoz-de la Nava in Sunday's final at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals.
Cervantes beat home hope and eighth seed Guilherme Clezar 6-3, 7-6(9) to book a spot in his sixth final of the year. The Spaniard, who is projected to rise to at least a career-high Top 85 position in the Emirates ATP Rankings, fired 17 aces and saved both break points faced during the one-hour and 47-minute affair in Sao Paulo. He remains on track to wrap up the first undefeated campaign in the five-year history of the Challenger year-end championships.
"There was only one break during the match," said Cervantes. "Then a very close tie-break. Clezar is a very dangerous player here. Not only because we're in Brazil, but also because it's indoors and fast conditions. His serve is pretty strong so I'm glad that I won the match."
MOST WINS IN A SEASON
Boris Pashanski2005 51
Inigo Cervantes2015 49
Yen Hsun Lu2006 49
The all-Spanish final clash will be the second of the week between the two compatriots. If the title match is as close as their thrilling round robin encounter in Group A, won by Cervantes 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5, fans will be in for a treat. It was Cervantes' second three-set win of the year in the FedEx ATP Head2Head, after prevailing in qualifying of the ATP World Tour 500 event in Hamburg.
"It's been only a few days since our last match and it was tough, almost three hours," added Cervantes. "It will be difficult, I'm sure, but we know each other really well and if I play like today, I have a good shot for the title.
"Maybe physically he's a bit more fresh than me. He had a day of rest and I played almost two hours. But I'll face this victory in a positive way. It helps me mentally so I can be prepared and without any issues tomorrow."
Munoz-de la Nava had already sewn up a berth in the final following second seed Guido Pella's injury withdrawal prior to Saturday's semi-finals. Pella suffered a torn adductor muscle in his round robin finale in Group B against Marco Cecchinato on Friday. Madrid native Munoz-de la Nava is 46-17 this year.
Cervantes is 3-2 in Challenger finals this year, seeking his sixth title overall. He lifted trophies in Ostrava, Vicenza and Marburg. Munoz-de la Nava, meanwhile, is 3-3 in title matches in 2015 and will be eyeing a fourth crown overall. He won titles in Napoli, Moscow and Meknes this year.
"I leave with my head up high," Clezar said. "I had a good tournament. The two matches I lost were more about the opponents' merits than me playing bad."
Continuing our Season In Review Series, ATPWorldTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2015. Today we feature Novak Djokovic vs. Andy Murray:
It’s a rivalry that seems to have been hatched at birth. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray were born within a week of each other in May 1987. They attended the same training camp as juniors. And the on-court reunions keep coming on the ATP World Tour, where they have faced off on no less than 30 occasions. They would stand on opposite sides of the net seven times alone in 2015, always in pressure-filled situations.
“There is only week difference between us,” said Djokovic. “Very similar game and very similar role in professional tennis. So I think that's what makes it very special.
“He has a winning mindset,” added Djokovic of Murray. “He's a great fighter, great competitor and somebody that commits to this sport. You can see that on a daily basis. He has a great team of people around him. He puts a lot of hours in the practice, gym and so forth. It pays off. I know him for a long time, so it's great we are able to challenge each other.”
Murray would push Djokovic to deciding sets in Melbourne, Miami and Roland Garros, but won just one game in those three sets, despite being one of fittest players in the game. The Scot would score the ATP Masters 1000 title in Montreal, snapping a two-year, eight-match losing streak against the Serb, but Djokovic would up his FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage to 21-9, including trophies at the Australian Open, Miami Open and the BNP Paribas Masters.
Djokovic’s best-in-the-business inner-drive was perhaps best seen during their five-set battle at Roland Garros, a more-than-three-hour drama the outcome of which was delayed by fading light, rain and hail. Having let a comfortable two-set lead slip away, the 28-year-old refused to cave, winning seven-of-seven net points in the decisive fifth set and denying his opponent even a single break-point opportunity.
Despite the competitive nature of their relationship, Murray insists the two are still good friends.
“I have a lot of respect for Novak as a tennis player,” he observed. “I've known him since we were 12, 13 years old. It's tough to be extremely close when you're playing in huge matches against each other on a regular basis. That's normal. But we get on absolutely fine. We were playing basketball together the other day. I get on well with Novak.”
“When you watch his game, he hits the ball well off both sides,” Murray observed. “He serves well, returns well. He's a very, very good athlete — very good endurance, as well. There's not many holes in his game. When maybe one shot for him is off during a match, he can hit all of the other ones well and make up for that, too. There's a lot of things that he does very well on the court. That's why he's been No.1 in the world for a while now.”
Djokovic vs. Murray: 2015 MeetingsEvent Surface Round Winner
Score Australian Open
Hard F Djokovic 7-6(5), 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-0 Indian Wells
Hard SF Djokovic 6-2, 6-3
Miami Hard F Djokovic 7-6(3), 4-6, 6-0 Roland Garros
Clay SF Djokovic 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 5-7, 6-1 Montreal
Hard F Murray 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 Shanghai Hard SF Djokovic 6-1, 6-3
Paris Hard F Djokovic 6-2, 6-4
Andy and Jamie Murray defeated Steve Darcis and David Goffin 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 in the third rubber of the Davis Cup Final on Saturday to put Great Britain a win away from its first title since 1936. Andy continued to be the driving force behind Team Great Britain and has now featured in 10 of 11 rubbers won by his country in 2015. He can clinch the title with a win over David Goffin on Sunday.
“It's far from over," Andy told DavisCup.com after the match. "I still think we have a very good chance in both of the matches tomorrow. Even if I was to lose against Goffin, I think we have a very good chance in the fifth rubber, whoever plays for them.
“Obviously to be up 2-1 gives us a better chance of winning. Only having to win one of those two is better than having to win both. But I'm not getting ahead of myself. I know how good a player Goffin is. You don't get to be ranked 16 in the world in today's game with the depth that there is if you're not pretty good at the game.”
On Saturday, the Murrays were put under pressure by the Belgians, but saved 10 of 13 break points and broke serve six times (6/8) in the two-hour, 52-minute win. They replicated the feat of brothers Laurence and Reggie Doherty, who teamed up in doubles to help Great Britain to the 1904 Davis Cup title over Belgium.
The Brits are attempting to win their 10th Davis Cup title overall to move ahead of France into sole possession of third place, behind USA and Australia. A singles win on Sunday in Ghent would give Great Britain a first win against Belgium since 1963.
Watch the thrilling conclusion of the semi-final encounter between Inigo Cervantes and Guilherme Clezar at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals.
They say it's not how you start, it's how you finish.
That has been Daniel Munoz-de la Nava's mantra this week at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals. The Spaniard, who dropped his opening round robin match in Group A to Inigo Cervantes on Wednesday, qualified for the semi-finals with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win over Paolo Lorenzi.
A battle of 33-year-old veterans, Munoz-de la Nava exorcised his demons against Lorenzi having dropped five consecutive matches in their FedEx ATP Head2Head series since 2009. The father of two is projected to rise to a career-high position of No. 80 in the Emirates ATP Rankings with the win.
Top seed and World No. 68 Lorenzi was eliminated from semi-final contention with the loss and finishes another successful season with a 43-13 record.
In the other Group A matchup, fifth seed Cervantes capped an undefeated round robin campaign, downing Farrukh Dustov 6-3, 6-3 in one hour and 18 minutes. He fired seven aces and did not face a break point. Cervantes remains the 2015 match wins leader with a 48-20 win-loss mark, pulling into a tie for fourth place in the all-time list of most victories in a season.
Meanwhile, Guilherme Clezar qualified for the semi-finals once again, streaking past Radu Albot 6-2, 6-4. The Brazilian home hope was a suprise finalist last year and will look to exact revenge on Cervantes when the pair square off on Saturday. The second place finisher in Group B, Clezar lost to Cervantes in straight sets last week in Montevideo.
"I have great memories from last year," said Clezar. "The crowd gave me a lot of support today and that is always a great motivation for a player, to be able to feel everyone behind you. I've playing Challengers the whole year, I didn't lose many matches to players with a lower ranking than mine. My level as a Top 200 player is established. I just need to win more matches.
"The situation is different from Montevideo. It was raining there, the serves weren't going that fast. [Cervantes] is someone that counter-attacks really well. I hope the serve can make a difference and my balls can go faster. The conditions here suit me more."
The nightcap at the Pinheiros Club featured a meeting between a 2-0 Guido Pella and 0-2 Marco Cecchinato. Already guaranteed a spot in the last four, Pella's Sao Paulo campaign would come to a heartbreaking abrupt end as the World No. 76 Argentine retired with a torn right adductor. It was the 2012 champion's second leg muscle tear in three years after suffering a torn hamstring at Wimbledon 2013. He led Cecchinato 6-1, 1-0 when the injury occurred.
Pella, who was slated to face Munoz-de la Nava in the semi-finals, concedes the walkover to the Spaniard, who advances to the title match.
Continuing our Season In Review Series, ATPWorldTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2015. Today we feature Novak Djokovic vs. Stan Wawrinka:
Novak Djokovic may have claimed three of four FedEx ATP Head2Head match-ups with Stan Wawrinka in 2015, but the Swiss proved anything but a pushover. In their first meeting, Wawrinka extended the World No. 1 to five sets at the Australian Open — the third straight year they went the distance at Melbourne Park. Though the semi-final would feature a combined 118 unforced errors and 12 service breaks, Wawrinka out-aced his opponent 10-5 and collected 42 winners to 27.
Then, at Roland Garros, Wawrinka would pull off a historic 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 upset.
Despite the fact that Wawrinka kept him from completing both a calendar year and career Slam, Djokovic says it’s a friendship unlike any other.
“I feel like I have a very special relationship with Stan, I think like no other top player, honestly,” he said. “I do appreciate that. I do enjoy that good relationship we have. I think that was strengthened even more after the Roland Garros final.”
It was the second time Wawrinka had defeated the Serb on his way to a Grand Slam title.
"This one is really special, for sure, playing Novak here in final, the No. 1 player," said Wawrinka. "He won almost everything since the beginning of the year. And especially the way I played and the way I finished the match."
“Of course it was probably the biggest win he ever had and it was disappointing for me to lose that, but I felt like we had that special connection in the end,” Djokovic said. “Look, at the end of the day, we are friends, we are people. Of course we both want to win. When we get on the court, it's all about business and getting the job done. You do everything that you can to win. But once the match is over, I mean, why not share some nice moments and joke around?”
Djokovic took the next two matches against Wawrinka, in the Cincinnati quarter-finals and Paris semi-finals, upping his FedEx ATP Head2Head advantage to 19-4 overall.
Djokovic vs. Wawrinka: 2015 MeetingsEvent
Score Australian Open
Hard SF Djokovic 7-6(1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 Roland Garros
Clay F Wawrinka 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 Cincinnati Hard QF Djokovic 6-4, 6-1 Paris Hard SF Djokovic 6-3, 3-6, 6-0
Andy Murray made it 1-1 after the first day of the Great Britain-Belgium Davis Cup Final tie by downing Reuben Bemelmans 6-3, 6-2, 7-5 on an indoor clay court in the Belgian city of Ghent on Friday. The Brit is now 7-0 in singles rubbers this season and could equal a calendar year record held by John McEnroe and Mats Wilander by winning the reverse singles rubber on Sunday.
"It was good to get it done in three sets so I can get ready for tomorrow," Murray told DavisCup.com after the match. "It was a good atmosphere to play in and you've got to use [the crowd’s energy] to your advantage as much as possible."
Murray never trailed, having held to open the match before breaking the Belgian left-hander in the second game. Bemelmans returned the favour in the following game by converting on his only break point of the set, but conceded the opening stanza in 35 minutes. The Brit would not face break point again in his next nine service games and raced to a two-set lead in just over one hour.
Bemelmans, whose only World Group singles win came in 2008, mounted a counter-attack early in the third set, saving two break points to hold before breaking Murray to go up 4-2. The euphoria would be short-lived for the locals, however, as Murray broke twice and confirmed the win on his first match point.
Earlier, David Goffin completed his first comeback from two sets down in Davis Cup. The 24-year-old Belgian faced stiff resistance from 20-year-old Kyle Edmund before prevailing 3-6, 1-6, 6-2, 6-1, 6-0.
Edmund, making his Davis Cup debut, took early control of the match. The No. 100 in the Emirates ATP Rankings put his serve-forehand combination to good use and powered his way to a two-set lead after 70 minutes of play.
Goffin, ranked No. 16, then found his rhythm, taking advantage of the home support sweep the next three sets in 90 minutes. He broke Edmund nine times in the last three sets, and was 10 of 19 on break points on the day. Meanwhile, Edmund converted six of nine break points on the Goffin serve, but did not get a break opportunity in the final two sets.
“He played every forehand really heavy from the beginning,” Goffin said during the post-match on-court interview. “It was tough for me to find my timing on the baseline. I knew I needed to take my chance, and I did well to finish the match quickly in the fourth and fifth sets.
“I wanted to start the match by hitting some balls from the baseline to gain confidence,” Goffin added. “It didn’t work because of how aggressively [Edmund] started. That’s why he won the first two sets, but I’m really happy with the way I turned it around. The atmosphere here is just amazing. I have never played in front of a crowd like this.”
Great Britain beat Belgium 5-0 when the countries met in the Davis Cup Final in 1904. However, Belgium came out on top 4-1 in their most recent meeting in 2012.
Watch hot shot from the 2015 ATP Challenger Tour Finals, where Guilherme Clezar reached the semi-finals for a second straight year.
Milos Raonic announced on Thursday that he and Ivan Ljubicic will no longer be working together. The Canadian, No. 14 in the Emirates ATP Rankings, has been working with the former No. 3 for over two years.
Raonic shared the news on his personal Instagram account:
“I wanted to take a moment to reflect. On a year full of many tough challenges, the biggest being myself. In 2015 I faced my biggest challenges yet, in regards to my health. My team, family, loved ones, supporters and fans have stood by me strong through the toughest of these moments and for that I am grateful. Thank you!
I have learned many important lessons throughout this year. Many of which I am sure will assist me in achieving my goals. I have plenty of challenges ahead of and hard work that I look forward to thriving in.
Looking forward to 2016, a year that I believe I can make big strides towards my goals and to the ambitions that I would like to fulfill.
I’d like to thank Ivan Ljubicic for the tremendous amount of support, knowledge and understanding he has given me. The decision has been made that we will not continue our professional relationship in the upcoming year, we will remain close friends and I would like to wish him all the best in his future endeavours.
As for the rest of my team, we will continue charging toward our goals. Training hard, training smart.
I can’t wait to be back competing.
Raonic will kick off his 2016 season at the ATP World Tour 250 event in Brisbane.
Inigo Cervantes and Guido Pella continued their strong run of form less than a week after squaring off for the Montevideo title.
Cervantes qualified for the semi-finals from Group A at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals, while Pella advanced to the last four from Group B. The top seeded Argentine downed the Spaniard for his fourth title of the year Sunday in Montevideo.
Cervantes opened proceedings on Thursday in Sao Paulo with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Paolo Lorenzi. The 25 year old, who recently entered the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time, upset top seed Lorenzi in one hour and 36 minutes. He fired five aces, converting on all four break points, while saving six of seven faced. It was his 47th match win of the season - tied for the fifth most in a single season in ATP Challenger Tour history.
"You have to believe that you can win every match because if you don’t enter the court with positive thoughts, it gets hard," said Cervantes. "I felt much better today than yesterday. The first match is always more complicated. I served better today, felt a little bit more calm during the whole match.
"Tomorrow it's a double edged-sword. It’s a dangerous match because he has nothing to lose tomorrow. I have to try to play my game and I would like to reach the semis with three victories."
At 2-0 in Group A, Cervantes will be joined by either Lorenzi or Daniel Munoz-de la Nava in the semis. World No. 87 Munoz-de la Nava moved to 1-1 with a 7-6(3), 6-1 win over Farrukh Dustov in the first match of the day. Seventh seed Dustov is eliminated from semi-final contention, falling to 0-2 in round robin play.
Lorenzi is set to battle Munoz-de la Nava in a winner take all clash. It will be the seventh encounter between the two 33 year olds. Lorenzi leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head series 5-1, with wins in qualifying at Roland Garros 2009 and ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Miami two years later. He won their lone meeting in 2015 in the Cortina Challenger semi-finals.
"The opponent was completely different from the first match," Munoz-de la Nava said. "Dustov is a hard court player, with a great serve and quick points. Inigo serves really well, but we played long points.
"Everytime I play Paolo the matches are long and tough. He has won most of them, but I’m going to try to play well."
Group B Down To The Wire
Pella stopped eighth seeded wild card and local favourite Guilherme Clezar 6-4, 6-3 in one hour and 31 minutes to move to 2-0 in Group B. The Argentine saved all five break points faced.
Pella improved to 45-13 on the year, extending his win streak to seven straight.
"I'm really happy," Pella said. "That was the goal, winning the first two matches. I had some help from Albot. Tomorrow I'm going to give it all to advance without losing a match. Marco has nothing to lose, so it won't be easy
"This was my best match here. He played a great first set, but I think I played extremely well too. It was really tough, it always is against Guilherme, because he is good on both wings and also serves great."
A spot in the semi-finals will be on the line when Radu Albot faces Clezar on Friday. Sixth seed Albot rallied past Marco Cecchinato 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, overcoming eight aces from the Italian. Cecchinato is eliminated with the loss.
"I played him before," said Albot, who became the first Moldovan to enter the Top 100 earlier this year. "He’s also very good on clay, but he has not played that many tournaments in the last few weeks. Maybe he’s not in his best moment right now as I am. But I just kept fighting and pushing the ball in the court
“I never played against Clezar. But he’s playing home, playing well. I saw his match against Cecchinato. Very aggressive player with good hands. Usually we say ‘when you play home, the balls help you, you know?’. So I hope the balls will not help him tomorrow."
The draw for Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, 2-6 December has been made, with Tim Henman and James Blake set to clash in the round-robin stages.
Henman and Blake both reached a peak ranking of No.4 in the world, and met just once in their professional careers, with Henman winning 6-3, 6-3 in Canada in 2002. They will clash for a second time at the Royal Albert Hall in the evening session on Wednesday 2nd December. Younes El Aynaoui completes the group. Wednesday will also see the introduction of Davis Cup hero Jamie Murray, who is due to play in doubles matches in both the afternoon and evening sessions.
Last year’s champion Fernando Gonzalez has been drawn in Group B against Sebastian Grosjean and Wimbledon semi-finalist Xavier Malisse. The winner of each group will clash in the ATP Champions Tour Final on the afternoon of Sunday December 6th.
The event will also feature a series of Legends exhibition matches headlined by seven-time Grand Slam Champion and Royal Albert Hall favourite John McEnroe. The American will face off against old rival Mats Wilander on Thursday evening before taking on flamboyant Frenchman Henri Leconte in the Sunday evening session. Every session also includes a doubles match, and the ever-popular Mansour Bahrami will return, along with the 1987 Wimbledon Champion, Pat Cash.
On Saturday 5th December, Tie Break Tens will launch. A new, exciting format of quick-fire tennis, Tie Break Tens will be headlined by World No.2 Andy Murray. He is joined by Henman, Davis Cup team-mate Kyle Edmund and World No.7 David Ferrer. A fifth player is still be announced, and a sixth will qualify from the Champions Tennis field. Each of the ten matches at Tie Break Tens will be contested over a first-to-ten-point tie-break. The six-man field will be drawn into two groups of three players, using a round-robin format. The top two players in each group will go through to the semifinals, with the winner taking away a cheque for $250,000.
There will also be a number of new initiatives for the crowd to enjoy on and off the court at this year’s Champions Tennis. The tournament will feature ‘Aegon Crowd Call’ for the first time; a new, unique line-calling system where spectators hold up cards which read ‘in’ or ‘out’. Saturday afternoon will be ‘Christmas Jumper Day’ where, as well as being encouraged to wear their loudest Christmas knitwear, visitors will enjoy a jazz band. There will be player autograph sessions in the public areas each day.
Spectators arriving on Saturday morning can upgrade to a Family Advantage Pack where kids can get tips from players, enjoy Santa’s Grotto and find out about ‘Miss-Hits’ from Judy Murray. Kids can also have their faces and nails painted, hair braided, and experience the magical world of ‘George and the Ice Cream Castle’.
FULL ORDER OF PLAY*
ATP Champions Tour Singles
Group A Blake, El Aynaoui, Henman
Group B Gonzalez, Grosjean, Malisse
Wednesday 2nd December
At 1.30pm Gonzalez v Malisse
Larsson/Leconte v Murray/Wilander
At 7.30pm Blake v Henman
Grosjean /Murray v El Aynaoui/Pernfors
Thursday 3rd December
At 1.30pm Grosjeanv Gonzalez
Cash/Larsson v El Aynaoui/Leconte
At 7.30pm McEnroe v Wilander
Bahrami/Malisse v Henman/Pernfors
Friday 4th December
At 1.30pm Grosjean v Malisse
Bahrami/Larsson v Pernfors/Wilander
Tie Break Tens Qualifier Blake v Malisse
At 7.30pm Blake v El Aynaoui
Tie Break Tens Qualifier El Aynaoui v Gonzalez
Cash/Grosjean v Gonzalez/Leconte
Saturday 5th December
At 1.00pm El Aynaoui v Henman
Tie Break Tens Qualifier Finals
Bahrami/McEnroe v Cash/Pernfors
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
At 6.00pm Tie Break Tens - Andy Murray, Tim Henman, David Ferrer, Kyle Edmund, a qualifier and one player TBC
LIVE ON SKY SPORTS
Sunday 6th December
At 11.45am ATP Champions Tour Final
Bahrami/TBC v Pernfors/TBC
At 4.00 pm Leconte v McEnroe
Cash/TBC v Larsson/Wilander
*All timings may be subject to change and are dependent on the length of play. The Management reserves the right to alter the order of play at any time.
Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall is the season-finale of the ATP Champions Tour and is played over five days, with two sessions each day - one in the afternoon, one in the evening, with a mixture of singles and doubles matches.
Champions Tennis has enjoyed record ticket sales for 2015 and the last remaining tickets are available from £23.50 at www.royalalberthall.com/tennis or by calling the Royal Albert Hall box office on +44 (0) 20 7070 4404. Hospitality packages are available via www.championstennis.co.uk/hospitality/ or by calling +44 (0) 20 8233 5854.
For more information about Champions Tennis at the Royal Albert Hall, go to www.championstennis.co.uk
For more information about Tie Break Tens, go to www.tiebreaktens.com
ATP World Tour Executive Chairman & President Chris Kermode reflects on the success of the tour and shares his thoughts on the future of tennis.
Guido Pella is making a habit of cutting it close this week.
The 25-year-old Argentine, who won his fourth Challenger title of the year on Sunday in Montevideo, Uruguay, missed his Tuesday flight to Sao Paulo for the ATP Challenger Tour Finals.
Pella traveled home to Buenos Aires after the final, but encountered an unexpected delay in flying to Sao Paulo two days later. He would arrive in the Brazilian metropolis the night before the competition was set to commence on Wednesday. The World No. 76 opened his bid for a second title at the Challenger season finale with a clash against sixth seed Radu Albot, and once again things didn't go according to plan. The Moldavan raced out to a 5-0 first set lead and eventually seized the opener 6-3, before Pella roared back for a 3-6, 6-1, 6-3 win after one hour and 50 minutes.
"I arrived here yesterday at 6:30PM because I missed my flight," Pella said. "I knew it would be hard because I didn’t have the chance to practise much on this court and I needed to play with a lot of heart. He had a good start and I wasn’t comfortable, but I got better afterwards.
"Playing the Challenger Finals is always amazing, luckily it’s my second time around and I managed to win the first match."
Pella, who won the title in 2012, moved into a tie for second among match wins leaders this year with his 44th victory, drawing level with Marco Cecchinato and Daniel Munoz-de la Nava. He joins home hope and eighth seeded wild card Guilherme Clezar atop Group B following Day One at the Pinheiros Club.
Clezar continued his dominant run of form at the ATP Challenger Tour Finals, streaking past Cecchinato 7-5, 6-4. He won an impressive 81 per cent of first serve points and 73 per cent on his second serve, while converting two of three break points. The Brazilian has now won four of his last five matches at the tournament after finishing runner-up last year to Diego Schwartzman.
"I’ve been practising really well over the last two days, so I was really confident with my game," Clezar said. "I believe it was a consequence of that. I had a good run last year, so I feel like it gives me confidence to repeat it this week. I hope I can bring that to the next round."
Pella and Clezar will square off in Thursday's nightcap, with Group B supremacy at stake. Pella leads the FedEx ATP Head2Head series 3-1, most recently winning this year at the Guayaquil Challenger. Cecchinato battles Albot in other action.
Cervantes, Lorenzi Move Atop Group A
Top seed Paolo Lorenzi will face off against Inigo Cervantes in a rematch of the Eskisehir (Turkey) final after both notched opening wins on Wednesday. Lorenzi, who has not dropped a set in three meetings with Cervantes, rallied past Farrukh Dustov 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 after two hours and 23 minutes.
“It was an extremely tough match," Lorenzi said. "I didn’t have a good start. He won the first set and had a break in the second. I played without pressure after that. I’m happy that I won, not with the way I played but the important thing is getting the win. It’s not easy to play after two weeks out of competition.”
Cervantes, meanwhile, also mounted a comeback in upsetting countryman and third seed Munoz-de la Nava 4-6, 7-6(3), 7-5. The Spaniard broke into the Top 100 of the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday, following a final run in Montevideo (l. to Pella). He extended his 2015 match wins lead with victory No. 46.
“In a tournament like this, in São Paulo, all eight players have the same level and all matches will be tough," said Cervantes. "Dani is a Spanish player and it was the second time we faced each other this year. I won the other match but in three sets as well. It is always really tough. I’m glad that I could win the match even if I didn’t play my best tennis.”
Andy Murray will attempt to end his best-ever year on a high note by bringing the Davis Cup back to Great Britain in the final against Belgium this week. The tie will be hosted in Ghent, Belgium on indoor clay.
Andy and brother Jamie Murray, who was also nominated to the team, have recently faced adversity on the court, having both been eliminated in the group stages of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals last week. However, both have enjoyed great tour-level results in 2015 – Andy will finish the year No. 2 in the Emirates ATP Rankings for the first time, while Jamie qualified for the Final Showdown in doubles for the first time and holds a career-high No. 7 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking.
Andy will be counted upon to do the heavy lifting for his country. By winning both singles rubbers this week, he would join John McEnroe and Mats Wilander as the only men to go 8-0 in a calendar year since the introduction of the World Group in 1981. Murray has featured in eight of the nine rubbers Great Britain has won this year.
Joining the Dunblane native on the British side are youngster Kyle Edmund (No. 100 Emirates ATP Ranking) and big-hitting Dominic Inglot (No. 23 Emirates ATP Doubles Ranking). Edmund has yet to play a live Davis Cup rubber, while Inglot is searching for a first doubles victory after losing to the USA’s Mike and Bob Bryan in 2014 and 2015.
Defending the Belgian colour in the port city of Ghent will be a familiar line-up of World No. 16 David Goffin, No. 84 Steve Darcis, No. 108 Ruben Bemelmans and No. 128 Kimmer Coppejans, the same four-man lineup which propelled Belgium to victory in the quarter-finals against Canada and in the semi-finals against Argentina. Team leader Goffin is 11-2 lifetime in Davis Cup singles appearances, and has won his past six matches. His only loss on clay was in five sets and came against Serbia’s Viktor Troicki in 2013.
Belgium has never won the Davis Cup and has not reached the final since 1904. Nine-time champions Great Britain is attempting to end a 79-year title drought.
To kick off our Season In Review Series, ATPWorldTour.com revisits the fiercest rivalries of 2015. Today we feature Kei Nishikori vs. Milos Raonic:
The young twentysomethings met only twice in 2015, but Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic sure made the most of the occasions. Quantity? Maybe not. Quality? You bet.
The first encounter came in January in the semi-finals of the Brisbane International, where Raonic unleashed 34 aces to power his way past his Japanese opponent 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4). The 6-foot-5 Canadian, 24, held each of his 18 service games in the two-and-a-half hour battle. All three sets were decided by tie-breaks, and neither player was able to break the other's serve.
Nishikori, 25, would exact revenge in Davis Cup play in March, his clutch three-hour 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 win forcing a fifth and decisive rubber in the opening-round World Group clash between Japan and Canada.
“I'm happy with the way I fought, I'm happy with the way I competed, and that's all I can ask of myself,” said Nishikori.
This time, Nishikori withstood a 28-ace barrage from Raonic to prevail in five sets in the hostile territory of Vancouver’s Thunderbird Sports Centre on the campus of the University of British Columbia, where rowdy fans waved flags and sported red-emblazoned hockey jerseys.
Nishikori now leads their FedEx ATP Head2Head history at 5-2.
Nishikori vs. Raonic: 2015 MeetingsEvent Surface Round
Score Brisbane Hard SF Raonic 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 7-6(4) Davis Cup
Hard RR Nishikori 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4
The 2015 Barclays ATP World Tour Finals attracted 262,894 fans to The O2 arena as another year of sold-out crowds flocked to the season finale to witness the world’s greatest players battling for the biggest indoor tennis tournament in the world.
The 2015 on-site attendance at The O2 brought the overall attendance on the 2015 ATP World Tour season to an all-time record of 4.5 million fans, rounding off a spectacular season for the ATP World Tour both on and off the court.
ATP World No.1 Novak Djokovic defeated six-time tournament champion Roger Federer in the championship match to capture a record-breaking fourth consecutive season-ending crown (and fifth overall). The victory capped off one of the greatest seasons in the history of the sport for the Serb who captured 11 titles, including three Grand Slams and a record six ATP Masters 1000 titles, to finish the season with an 82-6 win-loss record, and record prize money of $21,592,125.
In doubles, Wimbledon champions Jean-Julien Rojer and Horia Tecau captured their first season-ending crown and ensured they finished as the year-end No.1 doubles team for the first time.
Off the court, 59 broadcasters across 198 territories televised the season finale. Global television viewership figures are forecast to exceed 100 million. Live and on demand match streaming on TennisTV, the ATP’s official live streaming site and mobile app, received more than 7.2 million total streams, an increase of 24%, while the ATP’s digital platforms attracted approximately 40 million page views across the eight days.
The ATP’s continued focus on offering fans new and creative ways of engaging with the Tour also saw the successful launch of the Tour’s new social network, MyATP powered by Vixlet, during the season finale.
During an ‘ATP State of Play’ media address on Sunday at The O2, Chris Kermode, ATP Executive Chairman & President, disclosed that it had also been a record year for the ATP from a commercial standpoint. “In 2015 alone we’ve generated in excess of $160 million in new commercial sponsorship revenues to come over the next five years,” said Kermode. “The sport is in the best health it’s ever been in thanks to an incredible generation of players as well as the strength of our global platform of tournaments. We will continue to work hard as we strive to ensure continued growth for the Tour in years ahead.”
The ATP enjoyed a stellar year in commercial sales in 2015, securing new agreements with Maui Jim, Infosys and Peugeot, while further deals were announced during the season finale with Chinese digital media company Le Sports, as well as an enhanced partnership with Emirates that sees the award-winning airline become the Tour’s global Premier Partner through 2020.
The ATP also announced that the season-ending Barclays ATP World Tour Finals would remain at The O2 in London through 2018.
With the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals in the books for 2015, the Challenger circuit will take centre stage on Wednesday with the ATP Challenger Tour Finals set to commence in Sao Paulo.
To be held on indoor clay at the Pinheiros Sports Club from 25-29 November, the field is comprised of seven qualifiers and one wild card. Contested in round-robin format, with the top two from each group advancing to the semi-finals, 125 Emirates ATP Ranking points and $91,200 in prize money will be awarded to an undefeated champion.
Here are the two round robin groups:
TitlesH2H vs. Rest of Group
(1) Paolo Lorenzi
Eskisehir, Cortina, Pereira, Medellin9-3
(3) Daniel Munoz-de la Nava44-16 Napoli, Moscow, Meknes
(5) Inigo Cervantes45-20 Ostrava, Vicenza, Marburg
(7) Farrukh Dustov24-18 Wroclaw, Agri
TitlesH2H vs. Rest of Group
(2) Guido Pella
San Luis Potosi, Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre, Montevideo3-1
(4) Marco Cecchinato44-14 Turin
(6) Radu Albot34-18 Kolkata
(8) Guilherme Clezar25-22
Get to know the contenders:
Home hope and 2014 runner-up Clezar returns. The wild card notched wins over a pair of Top 100 players, including three match points saved in beating Victor Estrella Burgos 14-12 in a deciding tie-break to reach the final. “All the players in the field are really strong, it’s a high level. The matches would be tough in any of the groups. I really enjoy playing here, I had a good run last year and I hope to be able to repeat it now. The important thing for me now is to finish the season on a high note. I will think about rankings next year, because the main goal is to play at a high level.”
Paolo Lorenzi claimed his 300th match win on the ATP Challenger Tour earlier this year, and the Italian says he is not slowing down in his quest to reach 400.
At 33 years old, Lorenzi, who won four titles in five finals in 2015, is one of eight players to feature in the season-ending ATP Challenger Tour Finals in Sao Paulo. One of the most dominant players on the circuit this year, he won a total of 42 matches and lifted trophies in Eskisehir (Turkey), Cortina (Italy), Pereira (Colombia) and Medellin (Colombia).
Born in Rome, the World No. 68 in the Emirates ATP Rankings believes that his strong performance this year is due to several factors, but especially that he had been able to stay healthy and put in a lot of work away from the court.
“I put in a lot of work before the start of the season, putting a lot of emphasis on the physical part and I believe that it has been the key to a good campaign,” Lorenzi told ATPWorldTour.com after his victory at the Seguros Bolívar Open de Pereira. “I am very happy to have arrived at 300 wins and now my goal is to achieve 400. I believe that if I remain healthy, it is an objective that I can achieve.”
In May, in Turkey, the Italian became the third player in the history of the ATP Challenger Tour to arrive at the figure of 300 triumphs, something that only had been achieved by Spain’s Ruben Ramirez Hidalgo before this season. It was an accomplishment that had really motivated Lorenzi for the future, as retirement is not an option.
“That moment was very special. It’s not easy to arrive at 300 victories. The Challenger Tour is always very strong and competitive. The stars of tomorrow play there and so do many players that have been very high (in the Emirates ATP Rankings) and motivated to return from injury.
“At the moment, retirement is not something that I have in my head. I feel that I am playing well and I will continue competing as long as I feel that I am competitive and can win. At the least, three years. For that, I remain motivated and I am very happy of what I have achieved in my career. Why can’t I think about achieving 400 or 500 wins? That is the goal that I hope to achieve.”
Lorenzi, who reached a career-high World No. 49 in April 2013, has claimed 16 titles in Challenger tournaments in his successful career. He arrives in Sao Paulo having enjoyed great success there on the ATP World Tour, with a run to the final of the Brasil Open in 2014 (l. to Delbonis) and the doubles title match this year alongside Diego Schwartzman (l. to Cabal/Farah). All of these achievements, in addition to witnessing the success of his fellow Italians, has Lorenzi looking forward to the ATP Challenger Tour Finals and the 2016 season.
“This years has been very good for our generation of tennis players from Italy. Fognini and Bolelli won the Australian Open in doubles, Flavia (Pennetta) won the women’s singles title at the US Open against Roberta (Vinci) and the Davis Cup team reached the semi-finals. Also, Seppi beat Federer in Australia and Fognini beat Nadal three times. All this is very positive and beautiful to see that the players I have grown up with are playing this well.”
These achievements have motivated Lorenzi more than anything. For the second time (2011), he qualified as one of the eight players who will play in the ATP Challenger Tour Finals at the Pinheiros Sports Club from 25-29 November. “I have great memories of Sao Paulo. I like the city. The last time it was on hard courts and this time it’s on indoor clay, which I prefer.”
Argentina’s Guido Pella, Brazil’s Guilherme Clezar, Spain’s Daniel Munoz-de la Nava and Inigo Cervantes, Moldova’s Radu Albot and Uzbekistan’s Farrukh Dustov also qualified for the final tournament of the season.